Graduate Intern Liam Murtha, BA Media, Culture and Communication, IGNIFI
University of Sunderland

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Connecting Graduate talent with Northeast based SMEs: The University of Sunderland’s Graduate Internship Scheme reflect on a successful 2021

The University of Sunderland’s Graduate Internship Scheme got off to a flying start this year and despite difficulties faced as a result of the pandemic, was able to offer support to an impressive 60 SMEs across the Northeast region this year, during what has likely been one the most challenging times ever experienced.

So far, since the start of project in October 2018, a grand total of £560,555 in supportive European Regional Development funding has been awarded to Northeast based SMEs, fuelling economic growth across the region, with each SME now receiving up to £4500 towards the salary of each Graduate they employed. Each Graduate has brought fresh ideas into those organisations, often helping to deliver a new product, process or service for the business. This further translates to over 200 graduates being supported into a new, graduate level, full-time role, whilst earning an average salary of £20k!

The Graduate Internship Team have equally sought to expand the current project, owing to prolonged success and high levels of interest, and have been able to increase the amount of subsidised funding available. This creates an opportunity for second and third rounds of supportive funding to be accessed by up to 54 regional SMEs, allowing for a second or third Graduate Intern to be recruited into their business; adding new skillsets and expertise.

Graduate Intern Aksan Chowdry, BSc Biomedical Science, Rockshaw Ltd

As a successful SME joining the scheme, you will gain access to the university’s recruitment specialists who can provide support with; writing of job adverts, advertisement of roles across various channels, shortlisting of candidates and scheduling of interviews, and can even provide support on interview panels if required. The team will actively research and engage the candidates you are looking for, identifying specific skills, competencies, and talent to complement your business goals.

Get in touch!

If you are considering recruiting a Graduate into your organisation, we would encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible, as opportunities are limited. The Graduate Internship Team will ensure you are supported through the whole process from initial enquiry, all the way through to the end of the Internship.

For initial enquires you can contact the team on 0191 515 3045 or email: Internships@sunderland.ac.uk.

We are currently able to support SMEs that are registered (and operating or trading) in the following areas:

  • Sunderland
  • Newcastle
  • Gateshead
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Northumberland

Want to learn more? Why not hear from some more local SME’s who have successfully recruited graduate talent into their business…

“As a small business, taking on our first team member was a huge step – both financially and in terms of the responsibility. The Graduate Internship Scheme allowed us to take our next step safe in the knowledge that we were being supported by the University throughout the recruitment process.”

Amy Armstrong, Managing Director, M.A.D Communications

“The whole experience from initial conversations through to getting Hannah in place has been fantastic from our side. Any questions got answered, any problems were overcome, and we’ve ended up with the right person for our role with the silver lining of funding towards our costs.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the scheme to businesses looking to access talented graduates to join their teams.”

Andrew Carter, Managing Director, Bdaily Ltd.


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The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,32,6399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Northern Powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. Alongside over €1.5 billion of European Regional Development Fund support for businesses and communities across the North, the government has awarded £3.4 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.


This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by University of Sunderland .

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